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Thread: Identify this California hardwood

  1. #1
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    Default Identify this California hardwood

    I found this in a firewood pile in the Sierras.
    392DBF93-B23B-4618-B5BD-641AEE199185.jpgB33623A1-CF90-4761-BF50-80DBE7BDC8D5.jpg
    Itís quite dense. Barely floats. Very fine grain. Planes nicely. No odor.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    Eucalyptus it is.
    Looks like a lovely material for the annual Xmas wood trinkets- salad tongs, toys, etc.
    Does anyone have a source in the Northeast?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    Be glad there's no Euchalyptus in the Northeast! Eucalyptus isn't native to California. It's an introduced "exotic" nightmare that grows like a weed here. It was widely planted as windbreaks around the turn of the last century. There was a euchalyptus "boom" when it was believed they would provide a ready source of fast-growing timber. There are 600 subspecies of euchalyptus. The most common in CA, Eucalyptus Globulus, or "Blue Gum," isn't much good for anything. It has a spiral interlocked grain. It corkscrews when it dries. It's even a bugger to split for firewood. They regularly drop "widow-maker" branches and they have highly aggressive root systems and will destroy pipe in their search for water. We don't have any koala bears in CA and their leaves are poisonous to any fauna around here, so they have no predators. The biggest problem of all, at present, is that euchalyptus is highly combustible. They really fuel the firestorms like all get out. They are constantly cut when they become nuisances, but as they sprout from the stumps and seed prolifically, they aren't likely to be eradicated.

    Reportedly, Blue Gum Euchalyptus does produce useable timber, but only when the trees are hundreds of years old. There's none of anywhere near that age in CA. There's none commercially harvested that I know of. They are another poster child for well-intentioned environmental mistakes.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Native to Australia. There's a gazillion different eucalypts. Some make good timber. Some don't. There are at least 2 different bluegums. One is a good boatbuilding timber. The other, as Bob describes, is a fast growing weed. A 200 foot tall weed. It drops massive amounts of bark and branches all the time, so frequent raking of forest floors is essential.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Walnut Creek,ca,usa
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    My first thought would have been madrone. I haven’t seen much eucalyptus in the
    part of the Sierra I’m familiar with. Eucalyptus of the sort mentioned that grows in the SF Bay Area is not very hardy in cold and would not survive very far into the mountains. Maybe a different species in your wood pile . Any bark or leaves on any of it? J

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnjohn View Post
    My first thought would have been madrone.
    Mine too, except madrone isn't that dense... specific gravity < 0.7, so not really in the "barely floats" category.

    On the other hand I don't think of "planes easily" when I think of eucalyptus either, so...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    As mentioned, there are hundreds of eucalyptus species in Oz, many are excellent boatbuilding timbers.
    Blue gum grows completely differently in CA (and in South Africa) from the way it grows here, much faster, presumably due to the lack of predator bugs. The rapid growth apparently puts a lot of stress in the timber. (Same for some exotics grown here.)
    P.S. Koalas aren't bears, they are marsupials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Be glad there's no Euchalyptus in the Northeast! Eucalyptus isn't native to California. It's an introduced "exotic" nightmare that grows like a weed here. It was widely planted as windbreaks around the turn of the last century. There was a euchalyptus "boom" when it was believed they would provide a ready source of fast-growing timber. There are 600 subspecies of euchalyptus. The most common in CA, Eucalyptus Globulus, or "Blue Gum," isn't much good for anything. It has a spiral interlocked grain. It corkscrews when it dries. It's even a bugger to split for firewood. They regularly drop "widow-maker" branches and they have highly aggressive root systems and will destroy pipe in their search for water. We don't have any koala bears in CA and their leaves are poisonous to any fauna around here, so they have no predators. The biggest problem of all, at present, is that euchalyptus is highly combustible. They really fuel the firestorms like all get out. They are constantly cut when they become nuisances, but as they sprout from the stumps and seed prolifically, they aren't likely to be eradicated.

    Reportedly, Blue Gum Euchalyptus does produce useable timber, but only when the trees are hundreds of years old. There's none of anywhere near that age in CA. There's none commercially harvested that I know of. They are another poster child for well-intentioned environmental mistakes.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    Just from the fotos, my wild guess was going to be eucalyptus. But you said it had no odor. The couple of examples I've handled had an odor. Maybe green vs. dry? Dunno.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    Might be Black Acacia?
    (Koa is a variety of Acacia)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Identify this California hardwood

    I do think that it is Blue Gum Eucalyptus as the color, grain and bark match to examples that are in California. Both Blue and Red Gum Liptus were used for trim in the famous Green and Green Craftsman houses in Pasadena during the last century.

    As I write this, the Blue Gum trees that have lined the Main Street of the Business Section of Balboa Island, since it was first developed are now being threatened by progressive thinkers that think they can improve the vintage architecture by changing it to a street of modern "Architectorture" lined with palm trees! 96% of the Island Residents prefer to have it remain as it was originally intended!

    Red Gum was first introduced when the West was first being devolped to be used for wagon axles. Unfortunately it was not the species that was correct for that purpose and the trees ended up as wind breaks.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 08-12-2019 at 12:46 PM.

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